soccernet blog
Manchester United
August 29, 2011
Posted by Mark Payne on 08/29/2011

Manchester United's 8-2 win over Arsenal is officially the match where it became impossible to remain calm about what the team can achieve this season, and it is only the third league game. For years now it has been a stock-in trade of United fans to mock those who over-celebrate in August, “come back in May” we always say. But after a performance such as this you can only shout from the rooftops, and shout loudly.

August 24, 2011
Posted by Mark Payne on 08/24/2011

The best time to face a Harry Redknapp side is generally just before the transfer window closes. This season, as usual, Harry is playing another game of brinkmanship with his chairman and as such, Modric was out of the line up for Old Trafford and the 23 stone Rafael Van der Vaart started. United are having midfield issues of their own and this entertaining game saw both sides line up in the visionary 4-0-6 formation.

August 15, 2011
Posted by Mark Payne on 08/15/2011

I love wingers, I love them. It was a crushing realisation when I was growing up to learn that I ran about as fast a geriatric on valium and was better suited to clogging than crossing. Due to the lack of kids with a sense of direction at our school my lot was to play up front, the glory position, and try and direct our side’s frantic clearances towards the opposition’s goal. People compared me to Mark Hughes at the time, probably because my name was Mark, I certainly didn’t have any of the Welshman’s skill, guile or toughness.

August 9, 2011
Posted by Mark Payne on 08/09/2011

To all Manchester United fans who read this column, please listen to the pleas of our players and United fans everywhere to stay at home and not join in this deeply troubling movement.

August 8, 2011
Posted by Mark Payne on 08/08/2011

It makes me feel slightly ill to see Brian Kidd sat on the Manchester City bench, but it was probably him who felt sickest at the end of this match. Although this was certainly not a performance without flaws from United, there was plenty on display to be pleased about. Not to mention of course, that scoring the winner ten seconds from the end is just about the best way you can beat your closest rivals.

August 7, 2011
Posted by Mark Payne on 08/07/2011

Pre-season used to be a quiet time of kickabouts behind closed doors whilst the lads got off the beer and the physio glued Bryan Robson’s leg back together. 2011 has been rather different, as United have met a show-reel that Jason and the Argonauts would be jealous of. Colossus after Colossus has passed through our viewer in recent weeks as the side have met Canotona, Pele, Beckham, Barcelona and of course, Gary Neville too.

Whether this was a ruse to make the Community Shield match against City look like small fry we will never know, but it would never have worked anyway. The neighbours are definitely on the map.